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TIFF 2016 Review: “After Love” (2016) ★★★★★


What can fifteen years of marriage bring? More happiness? A complete family with little kids running around? Big house and satisfaction in life itself as the couple grows older? Maybe. But that successful scenario does not work the way it’s meant to be. Not at least for Marie and Boris…

Marie and Boris have been together for over a decade. They have two charming daughters, Margaux and Jade. They both live in a dream house with a design that was almost taken from one of the best magazines. Marie is rich. Boris has not even a penny. The couple split up and there’s no feelings left. One hates the other more. The tension between them grows strong. Both of them are too stubborn to give up. But at some point they will have to come to terms with it when the miserable life they have together won’t spread as the virus across their family…

“It’s Wednesday. You should not be home. It’s not your time”, says Marie angrily to Boris when he arrives home early. That is the beginning and the reality of their relationship we have to face in the opening scene. Unfortunately, those biting dialogues continue throughout, as you can feel the way Marie can no longer stand Boris’ presence at home. Despite that, Boris does not look like a man who deserves to be hated or disliked or disrespected by his wife. However, one of the dialogues they have together brings light to the reasons which led them to split up.…

Boris also has something to say when he, after squeezing her hand, takes her to a beautifully renovated room where he says, “The house might belong to you. But the floor, the ceiling, the walls, I did it all”, he claims full of frustration, almost expecting from her some credit for his hard work. But the truth is, regardless of what they will say to each other or the arguments they have in front of their children, Marie and Boris become a symbol of a couple living a miserable life after the love is gone.

JOACHIM LAFOSSE beautifully captures Marie and Boris’ life. It allows the characters to tell everything they needed to say in the beginning, leaving us a plenty of time to think over. Berenice Bejo is uncompromising as Marie, who seems unwilling to give a second chance. Cedric Khan’s Boris is a caring father who still tries to make the relationship work out. He even says to Marie at some point, “We probably should go to a couple’s therapy.” Saying that, Boris still shows some feelings, perhaps, more than that’s left in Marie, but, it’s Marie who has already made a decision that literally leaves minimum chance for the family to survive a crisis.

In conclusion, AFTER LOVE is a wonderful drama movie to watch. Everything goes so smoothly in the movie that you don’t even feel the time that passes by quickly. It’s a real and sad story. It is about compromises that should be made and the compromises should not be made. It’s about ending the relationship for good, when the poison that kills the marriage is about to kill everything else you care about most. It’s about the choices adults must make to move forward, like in life itself when the happy ending happens only with those who have the patience to continue building life after the feelings and the sense of love disappears….

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